So this game ended up flying under everyone’s radar because 1) no one understood wtf the trash pick up system really was and 2) why are there Gundams in my otome!? The good news is the system was actually really easy and just terribly misleading on their site. The bad news however, there’s still Gundams, and unless you’re a huge Gundam fan, the battles get really repetitive and tedious which may have been ultimately this game’s downfall. Our story begins with our heroine, Eve, who is some ancient sage that’s been alive for 3000 years. She lives in an undersea shelter called the Neosphere with her AI Cradle. Meanwhile the outside world the earth is in shambles and 2 guys, Sud and Atharva manage to fall into the Neopshere. They are being chased by the government who uses a robot golem to break into there as well. When Sud is hurt, Eve calls upon her powers for help and summons the ancient GUNDAM TEARBLADE.
Alrighty spoiler time for the past because pretty much the entire plot rides on past events. First let’s talk about Nanomachines. Nanomachines are like the deus ex machina of this game and they pretty much solve and resolve 99% of the plot. The other 1% is obviously kissing, hugging and love confessions. 😂 Here’s a handy list of what nanomachines can do in this game:
- Cleanse earth from pollution
- Create androids, clones, cyborgs and actual humans
- Move people’s memories/brains
- Pilot Gundams (underground & in space)
- Operate the neosphere
- Regenerate humans to live forever
- Create invincible AI that decides to destroy the world as he pleases
- Give robots feelings
So basically, after a while this gets quite repetitive and while it seemed like it was interesting at first, the easy problems solving deus ex nanomachine kinda destroyed that feeling for me. In the past Row was the prince of Union, next in line to be king and had a crush on his friend Eve. It’s revealed that Row would lead humanity so his body would be kept from aging and dying via nanomachines. He then cried & asked Eve to become nanomachined with him cause they had the technology for one more. He was too scared to outlive everyone alone so Eve agreed to get it done and they also got engaged. Everyone else went off to fight in the war, except that Row and Eve would be kept in an underground shelter – the Neosphere. A few people take shelter inside the Neosphere as well but Eve’s brother dies in battle. Just then the inside of the Neosphere is filled with a poison gas by the enemy which kills everyone there except Row and Eve. Row never made it inside the Neosphere because the escape pod he was in got ambushed by the enemy and everyone including him got buried under a pile or rubble. It took him many years to finally get out and him leaving is what caused the city of Union to fall underground.
When Eve woke up she found herself in a deserted Neosphere. There were supposed to be 1 million people evacuated in the shelter but everyone died. She’s alive due to the nanomachines in her body and that it was a year between the time of the gas attack and her awakening. While she tries to look for others she runs into Cradle who introduces himself as a caretaker AI. He takes her to where the bodies are kept of all those who died and explains that the gas changed their Dna so it’s hard to “revive” any of them. Not only that but when asked where Row is, Cradle says he has no record of Row ever entering the Neosphere. Eve asked to leave to search for him but was prohibited due to the outside world now taken over by the enemy forces. While Cradle began a slow search via outside cameras for Row, Eve took all the bodies of the dead and started burying them and making graves. 100 years go by and they still haven’t found Row. 300 years pass and Eve finally finishes burying every single person in the Neosphere but still no signs of Row. She then demands that Cradle let her leave the Neosphere. He tries to get her out but then turns out that Neosphere is now under water because her entire city has been leveled to the ground and buried under a landslide. He then says due to this finding Row is impossible and Eve gives up.
She loses her mind from the despair and memory overflow, and constantly tries to kill herself but Cradle keeps stopping her saying it’s pointless cause the nanomachines will just regenerate her body. In order to stop her suicidal attempts, Cradle ties her arms and legs down and she just lies down this way for hundreds of years seeing flashbacks of the past until she goes so insane that she begins to see illusions of those who died around her. Cradle then attempted to erase her memories but the nanomachines would just regenerate it. Finally, Eve’s nanomachines go out of control due to the memory overflow, and turn her body into a giant monster who breaks a hole in the Neosphere attempting to break out. She almost makes it until Tearblade wakes up and pulls her back in. Eventually she’s brought back to her normal form and she asks Cradle to make her forget everything. Also because of her destroying chunks of the Neosphere, the nanomachines stop working so the inside of it begins to overgrow with plants (that get in due to the hole she created) and things begin to rot without anything to regenerate them. Cradle then took a chunk of Eve’s brain and put it into a cyborg body to prevent the memory overflow. This new Eve is the present white-haired heroine who’s been living with Cradle for thousands of years.
Sud – Pronounced SHUDO, and based off his original resident number SH-D0, he was the 12th knight that served princess Eve. Or rather, that was his distant relative and Sud just happened to inherit that relatives memory when he was created. Currently, Sud is the leader of this do-it-all group who randomly helps people with various tasks for money (or sometimes for free). He does this in order to take care of his ill brother who’s been bed ridden on his deathbed for a long time. He ends up falling into the Neosphere and getting rescued by Eve where he manages to sync up and pilot a giant robot called Tearblade – which is actually his and his relatives original robot so it’s natural the robot accepted him immediately. Row invades the Neosphere commanding them to hand over Eve. That blonde dude Yajur betrays them and everyone is captured. The main leader named Arcadia tells Eve that 3000 years ago he destroyed humanity and only left Eve and Row alive. Arcadia is a super computer who actually brainwashed Row, and created the pseudo-humans (like Sud & Atharva) into which he implanted “memories” and “personalities”. He also intentionally created wars in order to get humanity to “advance”. Row explains that while the two of them can’t die on their own, they can destroy each other’s nanomachines.
For this, they need to merge Eve now with her former body. Eve however has learned too much after spending time with Sud & co. And doesn’t want to just go without a fight. Just then Sud bursts in riding one of those robot golems. Eve asks for them to free Sud and Atharva if she agrees to go with Row & Arcadia. Sud is thrown outside after being knocked unconscious. When he wakes up he has a flashback of the past where a guy who looked like him trained to fight using Tearblade with Eve’s brother Gil. After defeating Gil in a simulation fight, SH-D0 was assigned to be one of the guardian knights but his job was mostly assisting princess Eve. Eve then gave him the name Shudo based on his number. So then after the attack on their kingdom, turns out Yajur was a traitor then as well. After the battle ended, Rei explained to Shudo that the implanted data in their minds will be sent back to the server. Arcadia. It will then be “reused” when their “new versions” are created in order to find the Neosphere. Rei decided to delete his data cause he didn’t want to be “reawakened” as a general on the enemy side.So now that Sud remembers everything he heads to save Eve before they disassemble her body. He gets into Tearblade who accepts him once more and faces off against Row’s gundam. He rescues Eve and they confess their love saying doesn’t matter about what their previous selves were.
Row is so buttmad at the NTR his own nanomachines go out of control so Eve unleashes her own to defend herself and Sud. They fight Arcadia who just wants to turn humanity into 1 sea of data like the 3rd impact 😂 Happy end: They defeat Arcadia but he leaves his destructive nanomachines behind to destroy everything. The only way to stop this is to sacrifice Eve to use her nanomachines to fight against it. Just then the former Eve comes out and says she and Row will sacrifice themselves to stop this cause they have wanted to die anyway and this whole thing is their responsibility. This works but now the Neosphere begins to crumble. Sud, Eve and Atharva make it out but Cradle says he can’t come and he’s sinking with the ship. A year later, Eve uses her nanopowers to restore greenery and life to the world. She and Sud start an orphanage for abandoned children. Eve takes care of kiddies while Sud continues his random help services in town. Sud’s bother is also cured from his illness. Atharva finds his long lost brother and goes travelling with him and Yajur is mia. Every now and then Sud visits the place where the remains of Tearblade sleep to this day. Also it’s revealed that the former Eve used her nanomachines to change the new Eve’s body to be more like that of a human. Tragic End: Eve’s body is reverted to just a robotic skeleton. They return to earth to purify it and Sud says he won’t give up trying to restore the former shape of her body.
Atharva – Atharva’s whole route and existance is really bad seeing how he was a clone created to store Row’s memories from overflowing. In fact Atharva and his brothers were all clones created for this purpose. So of course basically any feelings Atharva has for Eve are just leftover emotions from Row. During their escape they realize Eve is a robot cause her hand gets crushed under debris but when she takes it out she feels no pain. Her skin is destroyed and it’s just a robotic arm. Atharva then feels like he’s similar to her since he’s a vessel for Rou’s memories while she’s a vessel for memories of her former self. To make things worse apparently Atharva had a program built into his brain to self destruct his body when his backup was no longer needed. He gets a really high fever and Eve says she wants to try to save him with her nanomachines. Instead though, Atharva’s dead brother League comes out cause apparently he copied his brain into Atharva’s before he died. So Atharva has now Rou, League and his own memories in his head 😂 They’re being chased by Carmine and Yajur but they decide to do a nanomachine surgery to save Atharva. The idea is to copy only his memories and personality to create a robot similar to Eve. So when he awakens he’s really confused cause he can’t remember the reason he wants to protect and care about Eve.
He then realizes his feelings for her were all because of Rou and now that those memories are gone he feels empty inside. Eventually Eve pushes her feelings on him telling him it’s ok to develop his own feelings even if they began with Rou. They both confess their love to each other while hugging in the woods. Well that was fast, maybe he likes those white haired ladies. After this they face off against Arcadia and Rou again. Cradle infects Arcadia with a backdoor virus but Arcadia fights back and they are both destroyed in the process. Meanwhile Rou fights his clone Atharva inside their respective Tearblades. During the battle the nanomachines change Eve’s body to be a human instead of a robot. Best end: After defeating Rou, Eve decided that since she can’t purify the outside world, she would transfer a few people to the clean environment of the Neosphere instead. Sud’s brother and fellow groupies all move in there. They manage to find cradle but he’s totally been wiped clean so he’s very robotic now more than before. Atharva and Eve continue to live together happily? Ever after. Tragic End: Eve’s body merges with her old body and only the old body is left behind. When she opens her eyes Atharva asks if she knows who he is and she asks if he’s Rou. Atharva feels bad and lies to her saying he’s Rou. A glorius NTR end for a glorious NTR route 😂.
Yajur – Yajur done a lot of hard living so when he was given a chance to betray the city who fucked his life over, he took the golden opportunity. In the past flashback he invaded the neosphere control room where he fought against Aina and Eve’s brother Gil. Aina then locked Yajur in a pod to sleep for 3000 years but she and Gil died from being injured so badly. They were unable to report intrusion and due to this the enemy was able to spread the poisonous gas that killed everyone. After shooting Sud and betraying everyone, Eve then gets into Rou’s Tearblade and faces off against him, grabbing him with the robot hand ready to crush him like Kaworu in Evangelion. 😂 Yajur admits he hated her ever since 3000 years ago cause she was just a princess fawned & protected by everyone. As Eve starts to crush him, she realizes the anger against him isn’t hers. The anger belongs to her past self and not her own feelings. She tries to let Yajur go because she’s in love with him, but the hatred of her past self starts raging inside her head that she will never forgive him. Past Eve’s body then breaks out of the capsule and turns into a raging tornado of nanomachines.
This allows Cradle to free Atharva and Eve reunites with them after jumping out of the Tearblade. Just then Yajur shows up and after yelling at him, they decide to try to stop the Hurricane Eve. That night Eve finds a sickened Yajur and asks him to tell her about his past, before he met her old self. He tells her that he’ll tell her but she must kill him afterwards. He reveals how the Union forced the poor people to be war machines for them,forcefully turning them into cyborg robots and forced to fight from a young age. Yajur was one of those victims. Everyone in his army group died and he kept hiding under a pile of dead bodies so he wouldn’t be drafted again. After a while he decided he wanted to go out with a bang so he became a spy and had his brain recalibrated to remove any guilt and emotion that would get in the way of him being a terminator. So when Singar recruited him to take down Union, Eve’s country, he gladly accepted. He also asked Arcadia to index everything and add to his database that the fall of Union would all be because of him. After he finishes his story, he gives Eve his knife asking her to kill him. She chucks the knife aside and hugs him saying she can’t do it. She’s basically fallen in love with the Yajur who lost his memories and says if the tragedy didn’t happen, the her now wouldn’t exist or would have ever met him. He starts to cry saying he had a lot of fun while his memories were gone with everyone. He says he doesn’t deserve it, but wishes for forgiveness.
The following day they regroup with Cradle and get in the black tearblade to try to stop raging Hurricane Eve. Sud also comes back (despite being shot in the head) and pilots the white tearblade to assist them. Yajur has a nano chat with the old Union knights and they forgive him, agreeing to cooperate their weapons to help stop their “princess”. Eventually they both end up inside the mind of Eve and defeat her there thanks to oniichan sword (cause Eve was a huge brocon apparently). Best end: Yajur’s body is destroyed but his “data” inside Eve tells her to go on and live without him. Eve refuses and uses her nanomachines to create a body for Yajur to return to. In the epilogue Sud and Atharva are back at the slums. They’re with a sleeping Cradle who one day wakes up saying that Eve has returned. Meanwhile somewhere in the distance, Eve and Yajur wake up from a long nanomachine induced sleep. Tragic end: Eve decides to become one with her old self to take control. She succeeds but remains as a giant creepy looking tree lady. Yajur says he’ll stay with her forever regardless. Bad ends: Eve kills Kaworu Yajur. Eve takes the hit for Yajur and dies. It’s funny that Yajur is the only one in the game that has bad ends. Everyone else only has a tragic end. Also it’s stupid and inconsistent that he either randomly vanishes in other ends, or is forgiven for no reason while only in his route does old-Eve rage and try to murder him. This route also underlines how stupidly ignorant the new Eve is, forgiving a guy that literally caused millions of people to die and caused suffering to Eve’s original self. But hey what fucks does she give, she wouldn’t even exist without him right!? (；・∀・)
Row – So yea Row is the next “prince” of Union but perished under the rubble during war and separate from his loved one, trying to find her for thousands of years. Needless to say, he isn’t a happy camper and things get worse when Arcadia rescues & brainwashes him. After the war, Row wandered the earth for thousands of years looking for life. Eventually he found some ruins and that’s when he met up with Arcadia. He found out that everyone in the neosphere died from a poisonous gas. He then agreed to get a virus injected into him to give part of his memories to Arcadia so he could move on from his despair and find Eve. He wants to die with Eve because their brains have a memory overflow and it causes them to go insane. That’s why Eve began to see illusions and why Cradle had to separate her brain from the rest of her body. This is of course a temporary fix as its bound to happen again so the only thing for them to do is die. Row was able to avoid this by sending his memory into a bunch of his clones like Atharva. Eve tries to escape from Row with Atharva & Carmine but Row catches them and goes on a murderous rampage in his tearblade. He jumps on Eve and strangles her crying that he’s sick of living with this nanomachine body. Just then Carmine brings out Eve’s junk collection which are actually recordings of memories of the past.
It’s then revealed that the true villain is Arcadia and he’s been fooling poor Row for 3000 years. Row’s nanomachines go out of control and tear his body into pieces. He takes over the black tearblade and begins to cause havoc. Eve then asks Cradle to combine her with her old self in order to stop him even if it means the current Eve would cease to exist. Once Eve comes out, she’s in her old appearance and has her nanomachine powers. She uses them to extract Row out of the nanomachine cloud and then faces off against Arcadia. (Again another inconsistency here because she was able to do it in THIS route but not in the true end oook then!) After Arcadia is defeated, there’s a flashback that Row is the one who created the pseudo-humans and made 3 countries in order to try to revive humanity once more. Arcadia was like let’s have the 3 countries fight each other to see if it will develop new technology! Row stupidly agreed and all those he had gotten to know ended up dying. From then on be decided to see these pseudo-humans as “tools” rather than people so he wouldn’t be hurt. Once they developed cloning, Row decided to clone himself and store his memories there. Once everyone’s back at her house, Cradle reveals that Arcadia not only infected Row with the virus, buf Eve as well. If she’s unable to hold it back, Arcadia will be free again and the nanomachines will take over her body.
Cradle suggests they work on making a vaccine using the database Arcadia left behind. After Row wakes up he turns into Eve’s cuddle bear blaming himself for being a weak loser and falling into Arcadia’s trap. Eventually he man’s it up when Eve gives him her brother’s old sword, they confess their love from 3000 years ago and kiss. (Btw this is all old Eve, cause new Eve is taking a nap inside her brain somewhere. New Eve is the reason old Eve can function without data overflow.) So then a battle begins once more against Yajur who ends up dying. In the meantime Eve and Row fight against Arcadia. Thanks to the weapons of the former knights they defeat him (to the background of a shounen anime bgm 😂) Best end: Arcadia disappears and tells them that Cradle will take care of the rest. He also leaves a hint that he was just acting as God’s “messenger”. Neosphere begins to crumble so they fly out with tearblade to the outside world. Several months later, Row & Eve keep the peace in town with tearblade.
They also purify the earth with their nanomachines and plants start growing on earth once more. Additionally, they manage to salvage the other Eve but end up stuffing her inside Cradle’s body 😂. It’s a temporary body until they can restore the previous one. Meanwhile Cradle himself has taken Arcadia’s spot in Singar’s system and is helping balance the pseudo-humans. In the very end Row, Eve and Cradle-eve go to the ocean gap where their old country, Union, sank down because of Row awakening. They decide to watch over the humanity as the official appointed leaders. Also they now gained the ability to “forget” so their memories will no longer go over capacity. Tragic end: Both Eves disappear after the battle with Arcadia so Cradle puts their data inside himself. Many many years later after purifying the world and helping humanity, Row feels like his job is done and both he and Eve die under a tree together. 😭😭 This was the only end in the game that made me cry honestly, I just felt so sorry for the poor guy (and so sorry for Matsuoka for having to literally scream at least 60% of the game. At least the poor guy won 1st place in the popularity poll (that I never got to vote in cause I played the game 2 months after its release…)
Cradle – As if the gundam battles in this game weren’t copy pasta enough, Cradle’s entire route is LITERALLY COPY PASTA of himself. I guess they couldn’t decide whether they wanted human Cradle to be a shota or a KOEI reject so they went “Why not both!?” And they literally created the exact same route/text but just changed the CG to be either shota or adult Cradle – depending on your tastes…or both because you want to get that platinum trophy. 😂 Other than being the caretaker Ai of the Nanosphere, Cradle hates mice cause they’ve been chewing on his cables for 3000 years 😂 So apparently when Eve’s mind went into overflow mode, Cradle didn’t have to create a 2nd vessel for her brain. He coulda just put her into vegetable state to sleep forever. However, Cradle was a lonely AI and since the Queen AI had also gone out of service….he decided to make a 2nd Eve to keep himself company. Just when Eve tries to fix Cradle down in the lab, Yajur cockblocks in, shoots the queen and threatens to shoot her too. Cradle suicide bombs while attaching himself to Yajur telling Eve to run for it.
Like the terminator, Yajur somehow survives through this and just as he’s about to kill Eve, 2 dudes show up to protect her. Turns out they are both android forms of Cradle that the Queen had sitting around ~just in case~ and finished transferring data to before Yajur got to her. Depending which one you pick (the deep voice shota, or the soprano tall guy 😂) Eve runs out to the forest with him and the other one stays behind to fight Yajur. Cradle then admits that he actually had a crush on her the whole time and that’s why he didn’t want to let her go lol. He never realized it until he got a “human like” body apparently 😂. They end up having to face off in their Tearblade against Arcadia cause he’s killed Row and taken his body to be able to pilot it. Arcadia reveals that Cradle was created by Aina, but calls him a failure for having human emotions. Despite Arcadia being his “father”, Cradle takes a will of his own and defeats him. His final quote is he won because he had a master he was loyal to, while Arcadia didn’t.
Best end shota Cradle: Since the main frame of neosphere is destroyed the only way to get out is using a teleportation device Arcadia left behind. However to activate it they need Eve’s nanomachines which would make her no longer invincible and she would die like a human. So the one Cradle stays behind with the other Eve’s and Row’s body while the one you choose goes with Eve & co above ground. A year goes by and earth is purified. Cradle is bullied by small children while living in the slums with Eve & co. Somehow both their bodies are kinda human and Cradle complains that everyone treats him like a child. He kisses Eve saying that he needs to take action now cause someone might steal her away 😂😂😂. Adult Cradle end: Same copypasta as the other end except it’s less awkward because Kakki now voices an adult man instead of a small child. 😂 Also Cradle acts like Eve’s husband now freaking out when she gets a cold. Oh and they both confess their love as he kisses her and catches her cold. 😂😂 Tfw shota-Cradle was way randier in his ending than the adult one was…lool. Also since it was copy pasta, and they reused the same voice files too, shota cradle had this deep Kakki voice which actually made his route even funnier.
True End – More like YOLO (you only love oniichan) end! Even when they convince Row to stop attacking, Arcadia uses the virus he injected into him and forces him to go berserk. The 2 Eves combine their powers and like captain planet they defeat the bad guy and purify the earth. 😂 But since he’s a computer he’s backed up his data in some weapon in space that once destroyed humanity 3000 years ago…. And he plans to do it again! 🙃 In the meantime, Aina’s memory database is accessed and uses Cradle’s old body to speak with everyone. Row also snaps out of it because the virus inside him is somehow gone. Sud reveals the white Tearblade was originally his so in the end they have him pilot with Eve. So after Mr. Super Computer is defeated he asks Eve why she wants to have humanity that will continue to hurt each other like I’m in a sea of LCL with Ayanami Rei. Unfortunately Eve isn’t as smart as Ikari Shinji and her reply is “Idk, I’m just a small town girl and I know I gotta defeat you yeaaa!” (눈_눈) After Arcadia vanishes, they have to get Eve out by yelling at Tearblade to pry the cockpit open since it’s so damaged she can’t get out on her own (even though in other routes she could easily teleport into it yea what is consistency.) Once she gets out she suddenly realizes that Tearblade has the soul of NIISAN IN IT!
Apparently before Aina and Gil died after being ambushed by Yajur, Aina while bleeding to death SOMEHOW managed to program Gil’s battle tactic skills into Tearblade – without his personality or looks or anything which is why nobody ever knew it was niisan until now! You know kinda like how Ikari Yui’s soul got trapped in Unit 01. Needless to say after multiple Eva ripoffs thrown in my face along with Eve’s incredibly dumb response to Arcadia (and the fact that Yajur is magically forgiven in this route despite her utterly RAGING in his route for him being alive) I turned my brain off. In the epilogue, everyone is living on earth now and shota-Cradle is still getting bullied by little kids. 😂 Atharva, big-Cradle and Cradle-Aina make a discovery that eventually pseudo-humans can evolve back into actual humans. White-hair Eve stays behind with everyone while Blonde hair Eve goes with her bae Row to visit the old site where Neosphere sleeps. They create a spot for her brother’s grave using his sword and leave some flowers behind. I’m sorry I can’t give a flying fuck about oniichan who was in the game in only a flashback span of maybe 20 minutes. Also there was literally no explanation why Eve had such a huge crush on him – she just did and that’s all that matters~. The overwhelming amount of Eva ripoff got really bad in this end that I could just no longer take the game seriously.
At first I was kinda surprised on why this game was so underrated. Once I finished though, I honestly can understand why. They couldn’t figure out what to focus on, threw in a bunch of gundams and deus ex nanomachines and pretty artwork. Otomate tends to do this frequently, but the entire “what a shame” aspect is if they shaved down the Gundam battle bit, and worked on developing time with the characters I might have enjoyed it more. (Coulda worked on some of the inconsistencies too but I’ll take what I can get.) Most of the “fun” moments were common route/group only and there was very few scenes where Eve had time with the guy alone. Normally when I play a game I tend to translate fun scenes and tweet them – but in this game there was nothing for me to tweet. Everything just kinda flew by, especially after your first run and I was just hoping for some kind of grand conclusion…but all I got was a flashback to the end of evangelion. 😂 I mean, it’s one thing to be like “ok well the robot theme is all they have in common” but it’s pretty bad when even some of the scenes and CGs are basically identical (see Yajur’s bad end vs Eva episode 24). Also the heavy focus on all the robot battles and lack of character interaction honestly is what made the game forgettable. I actually can’t think of any character that left an impression on me except maybe Row, because his tragic end actually brought tears to my eyes. Everything else was like well okay then, and I moved on forgetting most of what I had played. (Cradle’s route left an impression for me for all the wrong reasons 😂😂😂). And then the fact that the truth end focuses on a character who only appeared in a few flashbacks and suddenly assuming I’m going to care about said character…was just poor writing in my eyes. If they were going to do that, they should have hinted more about it throughout the game.
Anyway overall I was getting my hopes up for a great story as I was playing, but in the end it let me down so I don’t have much to take away from this game (aside from the gorgeous artwork.) I mean you know shit’s bad when the 2 poster boys are #5 and 6 in the popularity poll. You’d think Otomate would have learned the first time they tried to do a story about robots and war. So yea not sure I can recommend this game unless you REALLY enjoy those robot battles and just wanna see pretty artwork/hear Terashima Takuma be in an otome game after a long time. 😂 Also god bless Matsuoka and his poor throat.